What is Service Learning?
An educational tool that take students from the classroom into community settings to apply concepts learned in the classroom while providing community service.
A reciprocal learning experience where you also learn from being in the community organization as well.
Benefits both the student and community recipients.
The theory underlying Service Learning is that we learn most effectively from doing- from being an active participant in the learning process and then critically reflecting on what we have done and learned. It involves active learning-drawing from the experience of performing service work.
A method by which students improve academic learning and develop personal skills through structured service projects that meet community needs.
Service Learning builds upon students' service activities by providing them with opportunities to learn by preparing, leading and reflecting upon their service experiences.
Educators facilitate learning by creating opportunities for students to understand and analyze their service experiences in the context of their course work.
"Reciprocal learning" - learning flows from service activities - those providing service and those who receive it "learn" from the experience. Both student and organization benefits.
Students' active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet student needs.
Extends student learning beyond the classroom and into the community.
Service Learning enhances education and gives students the opportunity to serve in their chosen field of study and increase their civic responsibility.
Community colleges in more than 40 states currently offer service learning.
Service learning is related to but different from cooperative education, practicum, internship programs, volunteerism, and solely community service.
Service Learning must be extended outside of the College environment--directly into the community. Recipients of service must be individuals and organizations in the community.
Distinctions Among Service Programs
Goals of Service Learning
An opportunity to enrich and apply knowledge learned in the classroom in applied settings.
For Faculty and the College:
A move from teacher-centered, to learning centered, to community-centered pedagogy.
Expanding the classroom into the community and vice versa.
Benefits for Students
Learn social responsibility and citizenship skills.
Develop an ethic of service.
Develop civic Awareness.
Apply concepts learned in classroom.
Connect course and competencies.
Reconnect to get people to be civic and civil.
Develop personality. Improve self-esteem.
Establish contacts and possible future employment.
Experience firsthand a potential major field of study.
Gain experience which is a prerequisite for many jobs.
Major Components of Effective Service Learning
(Setting objectives for skills to be learned, issues to be considered, planning projects so they contribute to learning.)
Performing the Actual Service.
Analysis of Experience, Lessons Learned, Sharing and Reflecting on Experience and Implications.
Outcomes of Service Learning
Connection of theory to practice.
Puts concepts into concrete form and provides a context for understanding abstract matter.
Provides an opportunity to test and refine theories and introduce new theories.
Appreciation and understanding of social, economic and environmental implications.
Appreciation and understanding of moral and ethical ramifications of people's actions.
Learn communication, interpersonal and technical skills.
Self-directed learning - inquiry, logical thinking, relationship of ideas and experience.
Transference of learning from one context to another - which allows for the opportunity to reflect, conceptualize and apply experience-based knowledge.
Improves critical thinking, information retrieval, technical, qualitative and quantitative reasoning, oral & written communication skills.
Improves understanding of self and community.
Importance of Critical Reflection
distinguishes Service Learning from other forms of experiential education.
The critical reflection component links the service experience to course materials, readings, discussions, and lectures.
Reflection helps you make consistent and strong connections about the community service experience, and the theories and concepts learned in class through course materials, readings, lectures, and discussions.
Reflection allows the student to think about how the Service Learning experience was beneficial to self and others.
Contextually, the reflective component allows the student to understand their role and responsibility to the community, nation, and world.
Descriptions of Reflection
A mirror in which you not only see yourself, but the things that surround you.
Critical thinking and introspection.
A continuous and deliberate process involving analysis, synthesis, disciplined thinking.
Involves turning inward, analyzing, fashioning new behaviors, attitudes, and values from reflecting.
Makes consistent and strong connections between service, course topics, content, and objectives.
Makes consistent and strong connections between service and substantial affective impact and career understanding.
Portfolios-Paper or Digital
Development of Web Sites
Photographic Essays or Journals
Evaluation and Assessment
Can not be evaluated in the same manner as exams or research papers.
Students and faculty assess the usefulness of service learning.
Students assess how much they have learned and how their attitudes have changed due to the service experience.
Assessment is conducted of relationship of setting and service to course and content.
Assessment is made of skills developed from service.
Assessment is made of extent of critical reflection by student of the service learning experience.
Assessment is made of format and presentation of final paper, project or presentation.
Instructor must receive verification of time spent in the setting.
Evaluation and Assessment: Products
Team Based Learning
Assessment from Organization
Guiding and Reflective Questions for Students
What did you learn about the value of the service you performed?
What community needs did your service address?
Do you feel that your service helped or changed anything in the community? Why or Why not?
What have you learned about working and collaborating with others in the community?
Do you feel your service helped or changed anything in you? About your career aspirations?
What skills did you develop from this experience?
What specific course content from class or your readings relate to this service?
What particular theories or concepts from the course apply to your service learning experience?
What was the expressed or stated impact of your service on the organization?
What are the implications of your experience in this setting? Can you transfer this knowledge to your life and other professional experiences?
What lessons did you learn? What did you contribute to the experience?
Was service learning an effective way to make class material more meaningful?
Structure of Classroom Models of Service Learning
As one of the class products or assignments for semester.
As a final project.
As a group or team project.
As a total class project.
As a semester long project.
As a stand-alone course.
Examples of Service Learning Models
Project Management Course: Integrated Service Learning. Involved gutting and rebuilding dilapidated houses in the Inner City.
Leadership and Team Development Course: 10 hours of direct service by each student (whole class or teams). Identified a human service need not being adequately met by an existing social service institution. Examples of service includes: shelters (maintenance), special service facilities that feed, shelter, train, and counsel. Special services to the mental and physical challenged.
Neighborhood cleanup and restoration; creation of wetlands, wilderness trail maintenance; re-vegetation projects to return native vegetation to beaches and parklands.
Financial Accounting Class: For final exam, students had to find a community service organization that needed accounting consultation and work with them to serve their accounting needs. Project must involve setting up or modernizing the organization's account system or converting an existing manual system to a newer computerized system.
Principles of Management: Class of 48 had to plan and deliver a coordinated 6 week tutoring program in a middle school. Each student gave 12 hours.
Students wrote cards to terminally ill cancer patients.
Students took trays of animals from aquariums to elementary schools to explain what is being learned about Marine Biology and Ecology.
Media technology students provided agencies with technical assistance information technology.
Psychology students developed a "drink water" campaign to educate the community about the importance of drinking water and the typology of bottled waters available. Students distributed more than 5,000 bottles of a variety of bottled water along with literature.
Psychology students developed brochures for distribution in the community on "how parents should talk to their children about sex."
Psychology students spent day with senior citizens in an assisted living senior citizen living community and provided dialogue, games, and more.
Web Resources on Service Learning
Has much information on Service Learning and important publications, including the AAHE series on Service Learning in the Disciplines (1997).
Provides many publications and resources on Service Learning. Go to the "Resource Center."
Americorps is a network of national service programs that engage more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment.
Engages Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to help strengthen communities.
Information on Service Learning, resources for programs and more.
Serves as the Southern Regional Center for the National Service Learning Exchange.
The national site for service learning information.
Supports high quality Service Learning programs in schools, colleges, and universities and community organizations. The National Service Learning Exchange will provide you with a Service Learning peer mentor to: answer questions, offer ideas and suggestions for success, and support our efforts, plus more.
A membership association committed to all forms of experiential learning, including Service Learning.
Presents service learning models offered by faculty at Northern Virginia Community College, with links, resources and more.
An organization that promotes volunteerism, world peace and friendship.
Engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers who are assisting with solving serious social problems.
A network of programs that tap the experience, skills, and talents of older citizens to meet community challenges.
Offered in 14 countries, IPSL programs unite academic study and volunteer service, giving students a fully integrated study abroad.
Provides resources, tips, and links to other sites that offer information on service learning in higher education, including model programs and course syllabi.